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6 Ways to Optimize Your Multilingual Website

Use Multilingual SEO best practices to help your content attract web visitors across different languages

As the world becomes increasingly more connected, global companies need to distinguish themselves by communicating directly with their customers — no matter what language they speak. But connecting with audiences around the world isn’t as simple as translating source content into other languages. Instead, it is critical to provide compelling content in target languages, and to make this content easy to find via search.  

Don’t buy into the idea that a well-ranking English web page will rank well in other languages without additional effort. Pages need to be optimized in each language, meaning audience research, competitor research, and keyword research is essential for every language and region you are targeting. 

So how can you build an optimized global website? Follow these tips. 

Consider Search Intent

Search intent, or why a user may be searching a particular word or phrase, should be your starting point for writing global content. While a translation may be linguistically correct — say, translating “copy editing” to “elaborazione redazionale” — Italian marketing managers would be unlikely to search this term when looking for copyediting providers. Instead, research keywords individually to see if they are actually used by your target audience.

Identify and Optimize High-Value Pages

Optimizing an entire website is an enormous undertaking — and often, it isn’t necessary to achieve the search results you want. Start out by optimizing pages that receive high levels of organic traffic, or that you want users to find via search. For example, it may be helpful to transcreate and optimize the top 10 blogs on your website, but machine translate your product support forum.

Check the Technical Setup of Your Site

The structure of your site is just as important as the content on it. Make sure your site is being indexed by search engines, and ensure geo-targeting is set up correctly with the help of hreflang tags, which tell search engines which language is being used on a page. Check page loading speeds and create sitemaps for non-English sites, and invest in creating a successful mobile experience across languages.

Reviewing website architecture

Meta Title Tags Matter

Meta information is the first thing a web visitor sees in search results, and helps the visitor decide whether they should click through and visit your site, or go to the next entry. Therefore, it is essential to write accurate, unique meta titles and meta descriptions for each page of your site. Avoid obsolete, half-empty, or boilerplate text when creating meta titles, which could affect your search rankings. Stick to suggested length limits to ensure your site looks appealing to web visitors in the search results.

Build a Good Content Base

Writing compelling content ensures web visitors find what they’re looking for when they visit your page. Focus on creating text that adds value and answers questions. Find a translation and localization team with strong copyediting skills and a solid research and optimization process. To target different markets, consider a mix of translation, transcreation, and content ideation, based on a content piece’s relevance to each market.

Checking website analytics

Research, Build, Measure, and Repeat

Content optimization is a continuous journey. Follow an iterative process to stay current with search engine requirements and to track what is working. Invest in a keyword tracking tool and conduct regular site audits. Use your past successes — and failures — to determine what works well for your brand, and grow your traffic. 

Want more tips? Listen to Sandra Wendland, Global Digital Marketing Manager, and Brendan Walsh, Global Search Expert at Lionbridge, as they share practical, real-life advice for your global website in this webinar

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